Cloud

Upload your old email to Google Apps

The Google Email Uploader for Mac looks for mail archives in Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and Eudora and uploads it to your Google Apps account for centralized access and storage.

The Google Email Uploader for Mac looks for mail archives in Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and Eudora and uploads it to your Google Apps account for centralized access and storage.

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Companies or individuals that have switched to using Google Apps have a great thing. Using Google Apps, a company or group of people have a whole suite of communications tools at their fingertips: mail, calendars, tasks, online documents, and more. With the free Google Apps, as with Gmail, you have over 7GB of space to store your email messages.

The downside to migrating to Google Apps is that you lose some mail history. Keeping old email in your mail client is one thing, but if you become used to using the Web mail interface, or are away from your local mail client, that mail is unavailable. Depending on your needs, this can be a problem.

Luckily, this can be easily remedied by using the Google Email Uploader for Mac. This application will look for mail archives for Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and Eudora, and upload the old mail to your Google Apps account so that it is all stored in one location.

To begin, download the Google Email Uploader application. Expand the ZIP archive and launch the Google Email Uploader application. Depending on what mail clients you already have installed, it will auto-detect the mail location and offer to upload those mailboxes it has found.

If you have mail stored in mbox or Maildir format, you can use the File menubar item and select "Add Folder of mbox Files" or "Add Maildir Folder." Use these commands to navigate to where you have stored your mbox or maildir files/directories. Once the application has examined the selected directory, a new list of files to upload will be presented. Select which you would like to upload (the list will have each selected by default and will also indicate how many email messages exist within the mbox files or Maildir directories).

You can assign labels, preserve mail properties, or assign additional labels to the mail being uploaded. Finally, provide your Google Apps email address and password. When you have provided your credentials and assigned any additional labels, click the Upload button.

The tool does a very good job of uploading files; one test mailbox uploaded contained 285 messages and took 30 seconds. Three messages were skipped because they already existed in my mailbox. Logging into Google Apps, the messages are available via the new label provided (i.e., "Imported old mail").

Depending on the number of messages uploaded, it may take a few minutes for them to be fully visible in the Web interface.

Click to enlarge.

As a result, all of the old mail I did have stored from before starting to use Google Apps is now available for search and use via the Gmail Web interface.

Because Google is so generous with the amount of space available, uploading old email may not take much away from the overall space available, and the convenience of having all of your old mail in a single interface may make it worth the time to upload. While some might be concerned about privacy, unless your old mail is drastically different (private, sensitive, whatever) than your current mail, uploading the old mail to your Google Apps account is not really that different than using it right now in the first place.

Finally, any mail that you do upload, if there are messages you no longer want to keep (such as from a particular mailing list), you can use search criteria to find all of those messages and permanently delete them.

As an end-note: using this tool in conjunction with other tools to download mail from other servers works exceptionally well. On OS X, you can use the python tool OfflineIMAP to download mail locally to Maildir/ folders, which can then be used by Google Email Uploader. This worked fantastic when migrating an existing GMail account to a free Google Apps account, and would work well with other IMAP-based accounts as well.

About Vincent Danen

Vincent Danen works on the Red Hat Security Response Team and lives in Canada. He has been writing about and developing on Linux for over 10 years and is a veteran Mac user.

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